Home Alone

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How old should a child be to stay home alone? What do you think?

How Old Should a Child Be to Stay Home Alone

When I started this blog my daughter was two-years-old so it is tripping me out that instead of blogging about tantrums, I am blogging about how old kids should be before staying home by themselves!

My daughter will be 9 in June. She is very mature for her age in terms of responsibility;  a total rule follower. Things are black-and-white and boundaries with rules are seldom crossed.

Recently she was home sick and I had to run and grab my youngest daughter from school. Total round trip time was only 20 minutes, and as I found myself schlepping her into the school for pick-up, I thought, she would have be TOTALLY fine to stay home alone for 20 minutes.

How Old Should a Child Be to Stay Home Alone?

Then I wondered, is there a law that states how old kids have to be? I Googled it and found out here that only three states have laws of a minimum age a child must be to stay home alone.  California is not one of them.

It turns out that truly it is up to the parent’s discretion when their child is ready to be left home alone for short periods of time. Which makes sense since kids mature at such different rates.

In my gut, I had the feeling she would be completely fine for a very short amount of time. Again, for short errands or pick-ups, not for long lengths of time or for the responsibility of caring for her little sister.

I found this checklist to help you decide if your child is ready to stay home alone on the California Department of Education website.

I wanted to put the question out there to you all – how old was your child when you first left them home alone? How did you decide they were ready?

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My Favorite Pregnancy Apps

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Today I want to talk about my favorite pregnancy apps!  When I was pregnant with my first 7 years ago, I don’t think I downloaded one pregnancy app.  Not one!  By the time I was pregnant with my son 4.5 years ago, I think I graduated to downloading a “contractions counter” app. Nothing fancy.  Now there are TONS of pregnancy apps out there, and I want to share a few of my top picks.

My Pregnancy Today/Baby Center – This helpful app tracks your pregnancy week-by-week, gives you nutrition tips, specialized tips for mamas, and also gives detailed explanations about what’s going on with your baby on a weekly basis. Plus, a kick tracker, contraction timer, tips for creating your baby registry, and a cool feature – a “browse” products section, where you can search for baby products by brand name and reviews.

Sprout – This is one of my favorite apps because it shows your baby’s progress in 3D images (which I think is really cool!).  It also gives weekly overviews, has an “organizer” tab (a place to type questions for your next doctor’s visits, weight tracker  – my least favorite feature, lol! – kick counter, a place for your to-do lists, etc.), and a place to journal.

MyBabyBeat – Okay, this is a pretty cool app that my mom told me about!!  It’s a fairly new app that allows you to try and find your baby’s heartbeat with your iPhone.  Confused?  Read the app’s description…

“All you need to do is take your iPhone out of its case, make sure your headset does not have an embedded microphone, switch to airplane mode, set the iPhone volume to the maximum level, and start listening to your baby!”

Disclaimer – this is absolutely not a medical app!  I am obviously not a doctor, and I recommend that you ask your doctor, if you’re worried about trying this app.  And obviously, if you can’t find your baby’s heartbeat with your phone, that’s not a definite medical indication that anything is wrong!  This is purely for fun…not to stress pregnant mamas more.

I will tell you…now that I’m 20 weeks (where is the time going???), I can actually pick up my baby’s heartbeat sometimes with this app.  And, it’s magical! The app walks you through instructions, and also lets you listen to a sample mom’s heartbeat, as well as a sample baby’s heartbeat, so you know what you’re looking for.  You can also read more FAQs here (just scroll down on the page).

Photofy – This is such a fun photo editing app!  I’m kind of obsessed.  I know there are a lot of photo editing apps out there, but I love the baby and pregnancy “stickers” and frames with this one…especially the adorable stickers that help you count your pregnancy weeks with the size of the baby (i.e. the baby is the size of a tomato, sweet potato, etc.).  Super cute.

WebMD Pregnancy – This app is great because it shows a 3D image per week, what you can expect at your next doctor’s appointment, tips of the day, a symptom tracker (heartburn, anyone???), all sorts of pertinent checklists to keep you organized, and a place to journal…just to name a few.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting – A classic book, and now a classic app! I use this one on a weekly basis, too.  You have your weekly report on how baby is doing and developing, a video explaining each week, a place to read different week-related pregnancy articles, access to community “bulletin boards” and forums, and a place to journal.

On a side note, I also used the What to Expect When You’re Expecting Fertility Tracking app before I got pregnant, and found it very helpful.

Full Term – This app is mainly meant to help you time contractions (but is also a “kick” counter, too).  Obviously I haven’t used it yet (still too early!), but I’ll give it a go once the the time comes.

And, this isn’t an app, but it is just too darn cute not to share!  It’s a little video cartoon clip of a baby growing in their mama’s tummy.  I saw it floating around on Facebook, watched it and loved it so much, I let my kiddos watch it.  And, they want to watch it over and over and over again.  It’s one of the cutest pregnancy sequence clips I’ve seen that I think is pretty kid-friendly.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Do you have a favorite pregnancy app?  If so, please share below!

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I’m So Sorry

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This post is about teaching kids how to apologize. Sincerely. Not a, “Sorry, but….!” A real, genuine, sincere apology. A skill that will serve them well in life because let’s face it, we all mess up.

Teaching kids how to apologize Recently I was chatting with one of my best girlfriends and she shared a story about something that happened with her middle-school aged son.

Her boy is a great kid. Super smart, responsible, good sense of right and wrong. The kind of kid that you just adore. But he, like all of us do from time to time, messed up and got in trouble in class.

How she handled it was so impressive I had to share.

Seems as if he was talking a bit too much with the kid next to him and his teacher got mad and gave him a recess consequence.

He’t not the type of kid who is used to getting in trouble, so to him this was a very big deal and he was MAD.

He was mad at the kid who was talking with him, mad at his teacher, and in the mode of misplacing the blame and justifying all the reasons why he didn’t deserve to get in trouble.

His mom, instead of blowing it off or saying ‘kids will be kids’, or  just do your recess consequence and get it over with had a conversation with him about taking responsibility for HIS actions.

She told him the only thing he could control in this situation was how he reacted to it.

He couldn’t control the other kid’s talking. He couldn’t control the teacher choosing to give the consequence to him. The only thing he could control was his part in the situation, how he personally was involved and how he could handle it from here.

She said once he got his head around accepting responsibility for what he did to get the consequence, he was really disappointed in himself and didn’t know what to do.

She explained to him,

“When you mess up, the very best thing you can do is to give that person a sincere apology.”

He agreed.

So, her son emailed the teacher to ask if he could talk to her at the break before class the next day. That night he planned out what he was going to say and put some bullet point thoughts on paper. Namely,

* I am so sorry for talking in class.
* I feel very badly for not respecting your time.
* I am aware of my mistake and it won’t happen again.
* I am concerned about my citizenship grade and hope that this will not affect it. If it will, what can I do to make things right?

My friend said the teacher was surprised by his apology, and of course graciously accepted it.

He came home that day like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders.

There really is so much power in a sincere apology. Instead of letting it fester inside, there is something so freeing in admitting wrongdoing and expressing remorse.

Teaching Kids How to Apologize 

We all mess up.  Kids, adults and everyone in between.

I think he hit all the main points on the head on how to make a sincere apology.

1. He took responsibility and showed awareness of his mistake (no blaming someone else or no “buts”!)
2. He expressed remorse.
3. He expressed an effort to not do it again.
4. He asked for forgiveness –  or what he could do to make it right.

I love my friend for sharing this story with me. These types of lessons will be lifelong ones for kids. She gets an A+ in this life lesson.

Anyone else want to chime in with your thoughts on teaching kids how to apologize? Sincerely?

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The 2015 OC Mom EXPO is coming this weekend to Anaheim and I have a FREE pass for you to print to attend the festivities!

Being a mom is a special bond shared between women – a sisterhood. Right mamas?

This trade show is designed to bring moms together, motivate, inspire, nurture, and reward women of young families as they travel through the journey of motherhood.

The trades how will feature exhibitors with special interest items particularly for women, moms of young children, and kids from newborns to school age, with educational content, demonstrations, play zones, music, entertainment and more.

The EXPO is for all moms wanting to get answers, seek guidance, and find options that meet your family needs no matter which stage of motherhood you are in.

Throughout the day, there will be many fun activities for you and your kids to enjoy. From a DJ-led kids’  dance party to toddler story time and parachute play from princess appearances to music shows – it will be a fun-filled day for all ages. Click here for the show schedule.

The EXPO hours are from 10am – 4pm, with a special early bird Easter Egg hunt from 9am – 10am.  Print this coupon below for free admission!

For more information visit www.ocmomexpo.com.

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Local Love: Spring Break in the OC

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Spring Break in Orange County

With Spring Break right around the corner, this post is dedicated to enjoying Spring Break in Orange County…and how fun a “staycation” can be!  Here’s my list of fun things to do, and I would love to hear from you – please comment below, and let me know about your favorite things to do with your kids around town!

Tiny Oranges’ Recommendations

Let’s kick things off with some of Tiny Oranges’ recommendations and favorite things to do with kids in Orange County!

– I wrote a blog all about fun activities to do in warm weather – and how to keep cool!

– Jen wrote a blog about her favorite OC outing ides for kids – check it out!

– Read Jen’s blog about this fabulous Plan a Day Out website – a site ALL OC moms should know about it!  Check it out here – “Whatcha Going to do Today?” This is a great tool to use over Spring Break!

– Interested in being outside in the fresh air?  Read Lisa’s blog all about where to take some beautiful OC nature walks.

– Want to just “keep it simple” this break?  Read my blog about fun, easy activities to do with your littles – “Keeping it Simple with Kid Activities.”

“Beach Therapy”

People come from all over the country to vacation at our beautiful beaches…and they are just a hop, skip and a jump away from us here in OC!  Here are some of my favorite beaches to take the kids to…and I’d love to hear about yours.

Baby Beach (Dana Point)

Aliso Creek Beach (Laguna Beach, has a playground!)

Corona Del Mar Beach (Corona Del Mar)

Balboa Pier Beach (Newport Beach, has a playground!)

Jen also wrote a blog about her best kid beaches in the OC – check it out!

Bouncy Play

Let them bounce out their energy!  I love taking my kids to any place they can be in a safe, enclosed (air conditioned!) kid’s bounce house.  Here are some Orange County bouncing options:

Jump ‘N Jammin (Mission Viejo)

Pump it Up (Lake Forest, Irvine)

Scooter’s Jungle (Aliso Viejo)

Big Air Trampoline Park (Laguna Hills)

Frogg’s Bounce House (Fountain Valley)

Jump Sky High (Costa Mesa)

Museums, Zoos and Parks

Oh my gosh, Orange County has TONS of super fun places to take your little ones!  Here are some of my favorites:

Balboa Fun Zone

Pretend City Children’s Museum

Discovery Science Center 

Irvine Park and Orange County Zoo

Santa Ana Zoo

Mission San Juan Capistrano

The Queen Mary


Bowling Fun

Take your kids bowling!  Mine have never been, and I think they would have a blast!  Look up the bowling alley closest to you, and watch for fun theme days or kid-specific hours.

Irvine Lanes

Saddleback Lanes

Tustin Lanes

Theme Parks

This is a no-brainer – we are a mecca of theme parks here in So Cal!  So if you want to take your kiddos for a special treat, take them to one of these awesome theme parks in our area.  Just make sure to do your online research to check out any possible ticket discount and hours of operation.


Disney California Adventure


Knotts Berry Farm

Six Flags

Sea World

Universal Studios

Movie Time

With our recent heat wave, a nice cool, air conditioned movie theater sounds amazing!  Look up your local movie times and take your kiddos for a theater treat.  Keep an eye out for those dollar movie theaters, too!

Check out the OC Weekly for a great list of Orange County movie theater options.

And if you have little ones, I also encourage you to read my blog on “Tips for Taking Little Kids to the Movie Theater” – hope they help!

Day Camps

Another idea is to check out local Spring Break day camps – think about your local gymnastics gyms, martial arts studios, swim places, YMCAs, community centers, etc. – many times these organizations will offer half day or full day camps during Spring Break.  It’s worth looking into!

A Pajama Day at Home

Sometimes my kids just want to stay in their jammies, play Legos, and zone out to Disney Junior.  And that’s totally okay with me!  I try to plan at least one day out of their Spring Break vacation to have a pajama day – planned down-time, if you will.  Our schedules are so crazy during the school year, sometimes we all just need a breather.

I let them build good old fashioned “forts” with blankets, have a picnic in the backyard, watch movies with popcorn, and just veg out.  They love it, and so do I!


Okay mamas, let’s keep this list going!  Where are your favorite places to go?  Favorite things to do with your kiddos?

All of us at Tiny Oranges wishes you a fabulous, fun Spring Break!!

Photo credit: FlickrCopyright All rights reserved by Talo66

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